Clegg vows ‘no U-turn’ on support for offshore wind farms despite row

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg
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Nick Clegg has warned it would be a “spectacular own goal” for Ministers to cut support for Yorkshire’s burgeoning offshore wind industry as a coalition row erupts over green energy costs.

The Deputy Prime Minister told the Yorkshire Post the Government is “not going to U-turn” on the subsidies available for the vast wind farms planned for the North Sea, despite complaints from energy firms and some Tory MPs about the impact on household bills.

Yorkshire is expected to enjoy a huge manufacturing boom from the UK’s growing offshore wind sector, with thousands of turbines to be built in a series of sprawling wind farms far off the region’s coastline over the coming years.

But Number 10 announced yesterday that the green levy on household fuel bills – which helps pay for the subsidies for renewable energy projects –- is now under review, as the Government scrambles to respond to Labour’s proposed energy price freeze.

The developers behind the offshore projects at Hornsea and Dogger Bank have already expressed concern that the current level of subsidy may be insufficient to make the projects viable.

Mr Clegg, on a visit to the North East yesterday to launch the next round of the Regional Growth Fund, said that while some aspects of the levy may change the basic support for Britain’s new green energy industries would not.

“It would be a spectacular own goal to start removing support for these new sectors,” the Sheffield Hallam MP said. “There would be less investment, fewer green jobs. We are not going to reduce our support for the expansion of the offshore wind industry.

“It is a vital component in making sure we produce our own energy in the future – which in the long run helps bring down bills.”